“Lemon Scented You” is a tough act to follow, but “A Murder of Gods” does so with potent drama and an abundance of sleight-of-hand in the narrative helped by the focus switching between Shadow’s journey with Mr. Wednesday and Laura, Mad Sweeney, and Salim (the man who was given a new life by a djinn in a previous episode).
The episode starts with political statements of sorts on immigration and gun violence. The Mexican vision of Jesus (as there are variants of gods based on beliefs and the origins of their believers) saves a man from drowning only to be martyred by gun-toting Americans whose firearms are adorned with religious icons.
Vulcan, played by Corbin Bensen, is equal parts unsettling and shifty, having transformed his worship – that of fire and volcanoes – to the power of firearms. He is new, not from the book, and an Old God as well as a New God given how his method of worship has evolved (as well as his former alliance to Wednesday giving way to collusion with the New Gods). He embodies and exaggerates the gun culture of America to an almost cartoonish extent. Here’s hoping his role isn’t as finished as it seems.
The portions of the episode focused on Laura are substantial and character-building for characters who received little of the spotlight in the novel, while Shadow and Wednesday’s portions bring a great deal of tension and twists to the story in both this episode and the overall series.
Overall Rating: A Murder of Gods is a clever, story-intense episode worthy of return viewings, and clearly is setting the stage for even bigger sacrifices all around.
By Phil Gorski